Digital Cleft Care

Unfortunately, many of the 200,000 babies born with cleft lip and/or palate (clefts) each year lack access to many of the critical components of care. As a result, they struggle to feed, thrive, and even survive.

Comprehensive Cleft Care can require a range of care, including nutrition support, surgery, speech therapy, orthodontics, dental care, and psychosocial support. Treatments such as the development of multiple prosthetic appliances can be extensive and tiring. They are, however, essential to help babies and children swallow, eat, grow, and learn to speak.

The extensive process involving multiple impressions to be taken can be distressing for the patient and challenging for the clinician and must be repeated approximately every 2.5 months to follow the maxillary growth. This step also involves a major risk of obstructing the airways.

Finally, the finished plates are associated with financial costs, due medical and additional laboratory work costs, not to mention the environmental impact of waste materials

Digitalization is key to increase access to treatments for cleft patients

Digitalization has been adopted in the three major steps of the conventional patient workflow, resulting in three distinct processes:


1) Digital patient: the acquisition of patient data is digitized (clinical information, x-ray-based information or casts) and can now be stored or archived in the patient’s digital records.

2) Virtual patient: mental planning of the patient’s rehabilitation can now be assisted with digital treatment planning and on-screen simulation (computer-aided design or CAD).

3) Real patient: treatment procedures may be assisted with computer-aided manufactured (CAM) devices using milling or 3D printing technology.


Introduce the digitalization of cleft care globally. 


Produce educational materials to introduce oral health professions to digital workflows in cleft care.



MOOC1: Digital cleft care

Digital workflows

Cleft Lip & Palate Digital Workflows

The Digital Cleft Care project is supported by:

Dentsply Sirona